One of the deepest connections that you will make in Muay Thai is the relationship with your trainer. This bond is something that grows stronger as you experience the many highs and lows that accompany your Muay Thai journey.
While loyalty to your trainer is a good thing, when you reach a certain level it is important to venture out and work with other trainers. While you may initially feel strange working with someone else, there are many benefits to working with different guys.
Sometimes in order to break out of a rut, you need a fresh face to help push you harder. This is especially true if you have already started to see your progress starting to peak and your growth stagnate.
I experienced this lack of growth when I worked with my first trainer in Thailand. After a few years of being with the same trainer, I noticed a lack of growth in my fights and pads.
Even though my trainer helped reshape my game and retaught me all the fundamentals, there was things that other trainers were better at teaching. After I started working with new trainers, I started experiencing huge improvements again and developed a much more technical style – something that wouldn’t have been possible under my first trainer.
The following are some of the benefits to working with different trainers at the gym.
Reason #1. It Gives You Something to Compare
How do you know you have a good trainer if you have don’t have anyone to compare them to? The more experience you have working with different trainers the easier it is to separate the good from the bad.
Your trainer might be the best thing since sliced bread or they could be very average. While it is true that ignorance is bliss, too much ignorance will result in you forming a lot of bad habits.
A trainer could be the nicest guy in the world and really care about you, but that doesn’t mean that they are teaching you good technique. Someone’s devotion to you is one thing, but what they teach you is just as important.
Working with new trainers gives you more comparison and allows you to find someone that you gel with. This is why you should always work with a few trainers at a gym in Thailand before you settle down and choose one. This way you can find someone who gels with your style.
Reason #2: You Learn New Things
Every trainer that you work with has their own teaching style, bag of tricks and go to moves. When you work with new trainers you can pick up new ways of doing things that can work for your style.
While your basic techniques will remain the same, the advanced techniques and ring strategy will differ from trainer to trainer. Ask two trainers how to counter a specific type of fighter and you might get two different answers.
Since most trainers in Thailand have two decades of fighting/teaching experience, they have a lot of things that they can share with you. As long as you are willing to learn, they will teach.
From sparring to the clinch, every trainer has knowledge that they can pass on to you. Sometimes you just need to ask the right questions for them to reveal that wisdom to you.
Develop Your Fundamentals First
If you train in Thailand I suggest you work with one trainer until you have maximized your growth with that trainer.
Students who bounce back and forth from different trainers may find that your technique gets constantly changed depending on your pad holder. If you don’t have solid fundamentals this can cause confusion and make your technique even worse.
Reason #3: You Get Pushed Out of Your Comfort Zone
When you work with the same trainer for a long period, you will develop a level of comfort. As a result, you will already know what is expected of you during training. When you get into a routine with a trainer, it can be easy to find your comfort zone and stay within it.
After training with the same trainer for years, they will know exactly how hard they can push you and often won’t push you past that limit. This can make it easier to slack off when you are feeling lazy or tired.
Pad rounds can end up feeling routine and turn into cardio workouts. After a while, you might find that your progress starts to stall after a long period with the same trainer.
Working with a new trainer will give you new energy. Instead of the same old routine, suddenly everything you do on pads feels more exciting (assuming you get to work with a good trainer). Because you don’t know what to expect it will force you to stay on your toes throughout the pad round.
If you do pads with a new trainer, you won’t have the same level of comfort. Since you don’t have an established relationship with a new trainer, you will want to push harder to prove yourself on pads.
Because every trainer has their own unique rhythm and way of holding pads, working with someone new will push you out of your comfort zone. This might make you uncomfortable, which is a good thing.
Being comfortable leads to complacency, which will lead to lack of improvement.
Make sure you read my article: The 14 Pad Holders you can Expect to See in Thailand
Benefit #4: You Get Critiqued From A New Perspective
Another side effect of working with the same trainer for years is that they are already used to your flaws and weaknesses. While your trainer may have told you to turn your hips the first few months of training, maybe even reminding you of your bad habits every few months; eventually they will stop telling you over and over if you don’t listen.
If you work with the same trainer on pads for years, after a few years the pad rounds will be less about learning and more about conditioning. This means that they will often stop correcting bad habits you have if you haven’t changed them already.
Getting a fresh pair of eyes to critique your technique can help you continue making progress.
Sometimes hearing an ‘outsider’ correcting your technique is the only way to make someone realize that they need to change some of their bad habits. No matter how good you are there is always room for improvement,
Besides critiquing your technique, a new trainer may also show you a new way of doing things that may be better suited for your style. If you have a difficult time facing a particular technique, they might be able to show you a different way of countering that works for you.
Make sure you read my article: Find the right Muay Thai trainer – 5 Things You Should Look For
Benefit #5: You Experience a Different Style of Pads
Every Muay Thai trainer you work with will hold their pads different. Some trainers emphasize strong punches and low kicks, while other trainers focus on footwork and technique.
A good pad holder will try and pass on their style to their students. This means that working with different pad holders who have different styles, will teach you different fighting styles. Working with pad holders who have opposite styles can help you learn how to fight aggressively and technically.
Working with a new trainer is similar sparring someone new for the first time. The first round of pads can be a little bit awkward because you don’t know how they hold pads or the combinations that they want you to perform. After a few rounds of pads, you will begin to adapt your style to match their pad holding.
Never Worship Your Trainer
Far too often I see people worship their trainers like a deity. While you should show respect to your trainer, there is a big difference between respect and worship.
Students that worship and see no wrong with their trainers are easily taken advantage of and exploited. This used to happen a lot in traditional martial arts gyms where the ‘Karate Masters’ would be able to tell their students anything and they would believe what they say.
Treat your trainer with respect, but don’t ever put them on a pedestal. When you think of your trainer as someone above you, they gain power over you. This is how some students are blinded into staying at gyms that have douche bag trainers who abuse their students.
Always show your trainer the utmost respect, but never worship them or you will be disappointed when you find out they are human.
Something I have talked a lot about in the past is the importance of taking responsibility for your own Muay Thai journey. I see a lot of people rely solely on their trainers to improve, without taking any initiative to improve on their own.
One thing I learned from working with some different trainers over the past ten years is that you have to look after yourself. While your trainer is their to help guide you along the way, they have a lot of other students besides you.
The key is growth and progression. If you are making a lot of progress with one trainer, then you should continue working with that trainer. However, if you find yourself stagnating and not making any more progress, it may be a good time to think about trying to get a new look on pads.
The best way to work with a new trainer is to book a trip to Thailand. When you train in Thailand, you can work with multiple trainers who have decades of Muay Thai experience teaching and fighting. This is a great way to improve and reach your true potential in the sport.
If you enjoyed reading this article then I highly recommend you check out my book called Muay Thai Strategy. This book walks you through everything that you need to build a complete Muay Thai game from the ground up. Click here if you want to learn more about the Strategy bundle